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Avoiding Deck Disasters: 6 Reasons to Hire an Experienced Deck Installer

May 30th, 2024 | 7 min read

By Isabelle Braeutigam

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Are you excited to add a deck to your home but worried about hiring the wrong contractor and facing installation problems?

You're not alone - finding a trustworthy deck installer is a common concern.

With over 15 years of experience, we've seen many installation problems created by inexperienced contractors. We've used this experience to create a short guide to help you avoid these disasters.

Hiring an experienced deck builder is essential for a successful project. From design expertise to quality craftsmanship and project management, this article explores the key benefits of hiring an experienced deck builder:

  1. Expertise in Design
  2. Problem-Solving Skills
  3. Compliance with Building Codes
  4. Quality Craftsmanship
  5. Efficient Project Management
  6. Warranty and Guarantee

1. Expertise in Design

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Imagine a deck that’s not just built but crafted to fit your lifestyle—whether that’s hosting large family gatherings or providing a peaceful retreat. An experienced installer will incorporate your lifestyle and aesthetics to bring your vision to life.

Seasoned deck installers bring knowledge and unique creativity to the design process. They understand that a well-designed deck is more than a structure; it's a functional and aesthetic extension of your home.

When choosing a deck installer for your project, keep these simple points in mind to ensure they'll deliver on their design expertise:

  • Look at Past Work: Check their portfolio to see if their designs match what you want.
  • Ask About the Design Process: Make sure they listen to your ideas and needs.
  • Know Their Materials: They should know what materials are best for your deck and stay updated on trends.
  • Pay Attention to Detail: Their work should show careful attention to detail.
  • Good Communication: They should be easy to talk to and keep you informed.
  • Check Reviews: Look for positive reviews from past clients.
  • Check Credentials: Make sure they're qualified and certified.
  • Warranty: Ask about warranties for their work and materials.

Following these steps will help ensure you choose a deck installer who will deliver a design that you'll love.

2. Problem-Solving Skills

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Every deck project has challenges, from unique slopes and soil conditions to nearby water features. An experienced deck installer has encountered these issues and knows how to navigate them effectively. By relying on their problem-solving skills, you can ensure the longevity and stability of your deck for years to come.

Along with slopes, soil conditions, and water features, here are other examples of issues experienced deck builders will navigate with ease:

  • Navigating Trees and Obstacles: If there are trees, rocks, or other obstacles in the deck's proposed location, an experienced installer will strategize how to work around them while maximizing usable space and preserving the natural landscape.
  • Mitigating Sun and Shade: Depending on the deck's orientation and surrounding landscape, managing sun exposure and shade can be crucial for comfort and usability. An experienced installer will consider these factors during the design phase and may incorporate features like pergolas, awnings, or strategic placement of trees for shade.
  • Accounting for Future Expansion: You may plan to expand or add to your deck. An experienced installer will design the deck with future expansion in mind, ensuring that structural elements and layout allow for seamless integration of additional features or extensions down the line.
  • Managing Access and Logistics: Limited access to the construction site or logistical challenges such as narrow pathways or restricted parking can impact the delivery of materials and equipment. An experienced installer will plan logistics carefully to minimize disruptions and ensure efficient progress throughout the project.

3. Compliance with Building Codes

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Building a deck involves more than just construction; it also requires compliance with local building codes and regulations. Experienced deck installers thoroughly understand these requirements and can ensure that your deck meets all necessary standards. 

Hiring an experienced contractor who follows building codes and compliance offers several benefits beyond avoiding fines and penalties:

  • Structural Integrity: Compliance with building codes ensures that the deck is structurally sound and meets safety standards, reducing the risk of accidents or structural failures.
  • Enhanced Property Value: A well-built deck that meets building codes adds value to your property and enhances its appeal to potential buyers if you decide to sell in the future.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your deck is constructed according to regulations gives you peace of mind, knowing that it is safe for you, your family, and your guests to enjoy.
  • Insurance Coverage: Some insurance companies may require proof of code compliance for coverage. Working with a compliant installer ensures that your deck is eligible for insurance coverage in case of damage or liability claims.
  • Improved Durability: Compliance with building codes often involves using high-quality materials and construction techniques, resulting in a more durable and long-lasting deck that requires less maintenance over time.
  • Smooth Permitting Process: An experienced installer familiar with building codes can navigate the permitting process efficiently, reducing delays and ensuring that the project progresses smoothly from start to finish.
  • Customer Satisfaction: A deck built to code that meets or exceeds expectations ensures customer satisfaction and enhances the overall enjoyment of your outdoor living space.

4. Quality Craftsmanship

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Craftsmanship is key to the success of any deck project. Experienced installers pay attention to every detail, from footing specs to framing structure, to ensure your deck is built to last. They have the skills and expertise to handle complex designs and specialized features, such as curved deck boards and mitered stairs, with precision and care.

Here are examples of what quality deck craftsmanship entails:

  • Precise and Level Deck Framing: A quality deck installer ensures that the deck framing is precisely leveled and properly aligned, providing a sturdy foundation for the deck structure.
  • Even and Secure Deck Board Installation: Each deck board is installed evenly and securely, with consistent spacing between boards to create a uniform surface. Proper fastening techniques, such as using corrosion-resistant screws or hidden fasteners, ensure long-term stability and prevent warping or buckling.
  • Smooth and Flush Deck Edges: The edges of the deck are smooth and flush, with no sharp edges or protruding screws that could pose a safety hazard. Skirting is installed neatly to provide a finished appearance and enhance the deck's aesthetics.
  • Seamless Integration of Features: If the deck includes features such as stairs, railings, or built-in seating, a quality installer ensures that these elements are seamlessly integrated into the overall design. Stairs are structurally sound and easy to navigate, railings are secure and meet safety standards, and built-in features are functional and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Attention to Detail in Finishing Touches: Quality craftsmanship is evident in the finishing touches of the deck, such as trimming excess decking boards, performing thorough safety cheks, and meticulously cleaning up the work area to leave behind a neat and tidy space.
  • Use of High-Quality Materials: Quality craftsmanship extends beyond installation techniques to include the selection of high-quality materials that are durable, weather-resistant, and built to last. This includes quality lumber, composite decking materials, and corrosion-resistant hardware that withstands the elements.
  • Professionalism and Communication: A quality deck installer communicates effectively with the homeowner throughout the project, providing updates on progress, addressing any concerns or questions promptly, and delivering exceptional customer service from start to finish.

5. Efficient Project Management

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Efficiency is the secret tell of a quality deck contractor; experienced installers their building process down to a science.

With a finely-tuned process and strong supplier connections, they ensure that everything—from the lumber to the screws—is on-site and ready to go before the first board is even laid. Equipped with specialized tools and equipment, they work hard to transform your backyard dreams into reality quickly and skillfully.

With an experienced contractor, you can expect construction to take between 1-3 weeks.

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6. Warranty and Guarantee

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When having a new deck installed, it's important to understand the warranties provided. There are typically two types of warranties: material and workmanship.

Material Warranties

Material warranties cover defects or issues with the decking boards, railing components, and other materials provided by the manufacturer. These are usually long-term warranties of 20-25 years or more from the manufacturer. Interestingly, some manufacturers like Trex offer enhanced material warranties of 50 years if you use one of their certified Trex Pro Platinum installers. Other brands have similar contractor certification programs that can extend or improve the material warranty coverage when their trained professionals handle the installation.

Workmanship Warranties

Workmanship warranties, on the other hand, cover issues stemming from improper installation by the contractor, such as structural deficiencies or failure to follow manufacturer instructions correctly. These are provided by the contractor you hire. At Custom Built, to ensure you are covered for years to come, we provide a lifetime workmanship warranty. The length of this warranty will vary per contractor.

5 Ways to Find an Experienced Deck Installer

Finding the right deck installer for your project can seem daunting, but with the right approach, you can ensure that you're working with a skilled and experienced professional.

Here are five strategies to help you find the perfect deck installer for your needs:

  1. Ask for Recommendations: Reach out to friends, family members, and neighbors who have recently had decks installed. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations based on their own experiences.
  2. Check Online Reviews: Websites like Yelp, Angie's List, and Google Reviews are valuable resources for finding reputable deck installers in your area. Pay attention to positive and negative reviews to get a well-rounded view of each contractor's reputation.
  3. Check Credentials: Ensure that any deck installer you consider is licensed and insured. Ask for proof of insurance and any relevant certifications or accreditations.
  4. Visit Completed Projects: If possible, visit completed deck projects in your area to see the contractor's work firsthand. Pay attention to the quality of construction, attention to detail, and overall aesthetics of the decks.
  5. Trust Your Instincts: If something doesn't feel right or doubts about a contractor's reliability, it's best to continue your search until you find a contractor you feel comfortable working with.

Next Steps to Creating Your Dream Deck

You're not alone if you're eager to transform your outdoor space with a stunning deck but worried about the potential pitfalls of hiring the wrong contractor. Many homeowners face the same dilemma when embarking on a deck installation project.

By understanding the importance of hiring an experienced deck installer and implementing the strategies outlined in this article, you can avoid common decking disasters and ensure a successful outcome for your project.

At Custom Built, we understand you are seeking a deck builder who will take your vision and make it a reality with ease. With over 15 years of experience in the industry, we've seen firsthand the difference that quality craftsmanship and expertise can make.

Ready to transform your outdoor space with a beautiful, durable deck? Don’t let the fear of hiring the wrong contractor stop you. Contact our team today to discuss your deck project. We would love to help you turn your dream deck into a reality.

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Now that you know more about the reasons to hire an experienced deck installer, let’s explore how Custom Built will approach your project, how much your new structure will cost, and how long it’ll take to build:

Isabelle Braeutigam

Isabelle has worked at Custom Built for over 7 years, learning the systems from all sides. She has become an industry advisor in the customer relations software HubSpot, has a keen talent for elements of design, and currently leads the marketing team under the innovative TAYA system.